Otto von Bismarck Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan provides you with numerous activities, quizzes and key terms that will help students better understand Otto von Bismarck as a man and a leader.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

  • describe the early life of Otto von Bismarck
  • understand what kind of leader he was
  • appreciate his contribution to Germany
  • compare/contrast his reforms with his failures


1-2 hours


Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Warm Up

  • Once the class begins, ask your students the following to get them ready for the upcoming activities and discussion:
    • Do you know who Otto von Bismarck is?
    • Who is a Chancellor?

Discussion & Mini-Activities

  • Hand out the copies of the text lessons, reading them together as a class. Then discuss:
    • Describe the early life of Otto von Bismarck.
    • What modern countries were once part of Prussia?
  • Take out a large map of Europe. Have students research, identify, color in or outline, and compare the boundaries of Prussia and Germany. Lead a discussion on why the boundaries don't match up.
    • Why was von Bismarck called the Iron Chancellor?
    • What important social reforms did von Bismarck institute?
    • Give some examples of von Bismarck's foreign policy.

Vocabulary Activity

  • Place the definitions (but not the key terms themselves) of the following key terms up on the board:
    • Germany
    • Prussia
    • Otto von Bismarck
    • Chancellor
    • Annexation
    • Hostility
    • Junker
    • Wilhelm I
    • Ambassador
    • Prime Minister
    • Franco-Prussian War
    • Hall of Mirrors
    • Congress of Vienna
    • Kurlturkampf
    • Catholic Centre Party
    • Prussian Ministry of Culture
    • Socialist Democratic Party
  • Pick one student in the class to start this activity. They should write down the correct key term above any definition they wish. This student should pick the next student to do to the same and so on down the line until all the key terms are up.
  • Once all the key terms/definitions are up on the board, start this activity over but make it more challenging. Pick a student to come up. They need to draw a line between one term and another term. They are then to state the connection between the two. E.g. a line between Otto von Bismarck and Chancellor may be drawn. They should state the connection, like 'Otto von Bismarck was Chancellor of Germany from 1862-1890'. That student should pick the next student to go up and do the same.
  • Students should copy down the key terms/definitions and the visual web of connections of the key terms as the activity progresses.

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